888 Holdings has found a new CEO in Per Widerström, who assumes executive leadership of the international group as it navigates tricky market and regulatory conditions.
Widerström will commence CEO duties from 16 October 2023 onwards, taking responsibility for leadership of the company’s multinational portfolio of brands, including the 888 betting and igaming divisions, William Hill and Mr Green.
The LSE-listed gambling group’s new CEO brings experience from Fortuna Entertainment Group, the Central and Eastern Europe focused operator, where he was Chief Executive from 2014-2022. His 17 year career in igaming has included ‘a succession of senior roles’ across other companies since 2006.
“I am delighted and honoured to become the Group’s new CEO,” Widerström remarked. “Following 888’s combination with William Hill, the Group has a world-class portfolio of betting and gaming brands, an outstanding technology platform, and an exceptional team.
“Together these attributes mean it is exceptionally well positioned to become a clear global industry leader. It is incredibly exciting to be joining at such a key moment in the Group’s long-term development.
“888 has a clear and attractive opportunity ahead of it and I am very much looking forward to getting started and working with the rest of the team to build on the strong progress already made and achieve the Group’s full and very exciting potential.”
The naming of Widerström as CEO is the second major appointment made at 888 this month after Alexis Zamboglou was hired as Managing Director of the group’s UK and Ireland operations, with the former market proving increasingly tricky for the firm of late.
888 is currently under investigation by His Majesty’s Revenue and Customers (HMRC) tax office in the UK, something which has apparently become a cause of concern for the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
The regulator has hinted that follow up actions against 888 have the potential to be harsh, with potential measures including immediate licence suspension, revocation of operating licences, imposition of licence conditions or financial penalties.
Meanwhile, 888’s last financial update revealed net losses of £116m for full year 2022 trading, with reducing the company’s nominal debt of £1.8bn highlighted as a key priority for leadership moving forward.
Assuming responsibility for leading 888 through a difficult trading period, Widerström will take on CEO duties from the firm’s Executive Chair Lord Mendelsohn, who has been filling the role in an interim position since the departure of Itai Pazner.
Lord Mendelsohn remarked: “We are delighted to be able to appoint Per following what has been an extensive and comprehensive search process. The Board unanimously agreed that Per was the clear standout candidate to lead the Group to build on the strong platform for growth and value creation that has been established.
“Per has extensive experience in both public and private companies, and a long track record with a proven ability to execute value creation plans. As well as being an energetic and inspiring leader, Per brings nearly two decades of highly relevant industry expertise into the role.
“He has a strong and proven track record of driving growth and delivering transformation programmes at multiple leading online gaming businesses, and the Board is very pleased to appoint someone with the skillset to deliver our objective to become a much stronger international multi-brand operator, leveraging our technology and data capabilities to drive an acceleration in growth.
“Per not only understands the power and exciting potential of the business, but the Board is also very pleased with his strong record and reputation on governance and compliance.”